Posts Tagged ‘ Holland ’

Holland Euro 2012 away kit

The Netherlands made the World Cup Final in 2010, narrowly losing to Spain in a match possibly more remembered for Nigel De Jong’s foot to Xabi Alonso’s sternum than the finish by Iniesta and the crowning glory of La Furia Roja. Following that defeat, the Oranje breezed through Euro 2012 Qualifying, only losing one match to Sweden after qualification had already been secured, and during the run they climbed to #1 in FIFA World Rankings.

Heading into the Euros, co-hosted by Ukraine and Poland, manager Bert van Marwijk had re-shaped the squad with about a third of the squad turned over. The Dutch rolled out a back line of van der Wiel, Heitinga, Vlaar and Willems with Mathijsen getting some time as well. The attacking group in the first two games featured Robben, Sneijder, Afellay and van Persie with de Jong and van Bommel holding.

After dropping their first two games, Holland could still advance and put most of their key attackers on the field with Van der Vaart and Huntelaar coming on and van Bommel and Afellay heading to the bench. An early goal gave hope to the Oranje but two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo saw the Dutch finish 0-3 and in last place.

As for the kits, the home shirt featured a two tone orange pattern that I didn’t care for and I loved the change shirt from Nike the moment I saw it. I love all black kits and this one by Nike was fantastic. The small deep orange band that came down the shirt provided a nice accent to the shirt while keeping the manufacturer logo in the same color as the shirt. Plus the KNVB badge was not framed in that weird shield used in previous iterations.

The Dutch wore the all black strip for the last group game and the shirt features a black ring collar, rubberized material at the seams and around the orange design feature, laser cut venting around the rib cage and a ventilated back. Nieuwe Meesters (New Masters) is on the inside neck and the bright Dutch orange is on the inside of the cuffs.

Another item I came across in my research was the name and number set. The name font is pretty common for the time but the numbers are quite, how do i say this, blocky. This image from the Switch Image Project shows what I’m talking about.
Despite my kit buying rules, when I saw a deal on Classic Football Shirts on the authentic version, I had to get it. I ordered a medium (maybe not a good long term decision as I age and put on the pounds) and it’s wonderful, bold shirt that weighs almost nothing.

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Resources

Football Shirt Culture

Historical Football Kits

Colours of Football

Wikipedia

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Check out more posts on kits from clubs and countries around the world on the Strip Club page. And yes. It’s safe for work.

Personal Kit Collection 2016

Inspired by a series of tweets late 2012, I took stock of my kit inventory and put together a post documenting my personal kit collection at the time. As you can see my collection was all over the place in terms of teams, manufacturer and style. Since then, I have had a couple of realizations (read: interventions) and talks with myself. Combine that with a big move and my collection is now under 30 jerseys. I have probably owned over 50 shirts through the years but things happen. My collection pales in comparison with others, especially JR Francis, as we discussed on one of his appearances on the SoccerNomad podcast, but I love collecting and talking about kits.

Manchester United

Home

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Away

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US National Team

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National Teams

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FC Barcelona

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Juventus

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Atlanta Silverbacks

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My current plan is to follow my self-created rules.

  • Since I’ve narrowed my focus to just following Manchester United at club level (and Atlanta United when they take the field in 2017), only buying a shirt every three years or ones that match my tastes. I’m currently back filling my Manchester United collection.
  • In terms of national team kits, only buying ones of the United States Men’s National Team. Why? Because I’m American, if only by an accident of birthplace. (Of course, thanks to Nike, this policy has been a real problem as they keep designing crap shirts.)
  • Only buying personalized jerseys (printed with JUNIOR 7) and not buying “hero jerseys”.
  • Only buying shirts on sale (promotional or otherwise) or wait until the release of the following set of kits.

Since I put these into effect a couple of years ago, I have done quite well, only breaking the rules once, and that was to get an authentic Holland Away jersey from Euro 2012. It was 50% off at Classic Football Shirts and I couldn’t pass it up. However I’m close to breaking several of the above rules for the new Croatia Euro 2016 away shirt.

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For all the posts on kits that I have owned, own currently or want to own, please visit the Strip Club page of the SoccerNomad blog.

Here are some good resources, especially if you’re looking for vintage or retro shirts:

Feel free to share your faves/collections or great sites for shirts in the comments below.

Ajax, the Dutch, the War

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Ajax, the Dutch, the War, Simon Kuper

This book was enjoyable but I think would have gotten more out of it if I had a better knowledge of World War II and the cultural and political happenings of the Netherlands and Europe. The relationship with the Jews for the Europeans generally and some soccer clubs specifically, is a large part of book. Again I don’t have a good understanding on this topic. Finally, a deeper familiarity with the histories of Feyenoord and Ajax would have allowed those passages to have made more sense. Having said all that, I did learn a lot, including the fact that soccer did exist during the war, which surprised me.

Whereas Dynamo was more of a linear story about a specific story line of the war, Kuper bounces around Holland and Europe to share his information and interviews. The delineation between good and evil is explored and challenges the reader. My favorite part of the book was anecdotes about various players attempting to keep playing football during the war either by changing their identity or escaping or negotiating with Nazis.

Kuper’s prose tells a tale of a very dark time in human history, and the book is worth reading because it gives a greater context to the influence of World War II on the game, the Netherlands, and football clubs in that country.

MatchDay Memory–Football Without Frontiers (Part 1)

Euro 2000 was one of the highlights of my soccer supporter experience, hitting heights of excitement and engagement, not matched until recently with the 2014 World Cup, while producing moments of style and quality over several weeks.

france

I have not always been a soccer guy.  Although I have been playing the game since I was eight, I knew more about the intricacies of the Big Three American sports (American football, baseball and basketball) than the beautiful game.

However, during a window in the late 90’s to early 2000’s, I turned from casual fan into full-on Soccer Nerd, as I was reading (shameless plug for Recommended Reading page), watching, coaching, buying kits (shameless plug for Strip Club page) and playing to a level that raised the game to an obsession (an unhealthy one my wife might add) in my life.

In those days, the tournament was only accessible via Pay Per View.  Remember those days?  No ESPN or Fox Sports1 or beIN Sports or Gol TV.  Hell this was still the days of Fox Sports World.  Anyway, the PPV package for Euro 2000 was something like $150, so I gathered some investors, hit PURCHASE and off we went.

I watched almost every game live.  With kickoffs at 12pm and 2:45pm Eastern Time, I could fit them in before heading off to the Pizza Slut.  And on top of that I taped them. As part of paying a portion of the PPV costs, people could borrow the tapes to stay up with the tournament.

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Remember VCR’s??  For a while crates of video cassettes followed me around until I realized that I was never going to watch them and most everything was on the internet anyway.  Speaking of the internet the internet was coming to the fore at that time, so I scoured the web every morning for news and updates to get greater context on the competition.

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What I remember about this tournament was Zidane, the Dutch and the dramatic Spain versus Yugoslavia game.  Two years on from winning the World Cup, the French were even better.  Gone was Guivarc’h up top with Lemarre able to choose from Henry, Anelka and Trezeguet, plus Wiltord and Pires were added to the attack. But the indisputable star was Zidane.  If you watch any extended highlights of this tournament, you will inevitably see Zidane in amazing form and his performances are some of the finest examples ever of touch, vision and footwork.

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Their expected opponents in the Final were the Dutch, one of the co-hosts of the tournament.  Building on a strong performance in the 1998 World Cup, the Netherlands marched through the group and then absolutely annihilated Yugoslavia in the Quarter Finals 6-1.  Overmars, Zenden, Bergkamp and Kluivert attacking with Davids and Cocu cleaning up in front of strong defense.  Everything was going so well until the Semi Final against Italy.  The Dutch missed five penalties (two in regulation and three during the shootout) to be eliminated by the Azzurri, which meant that wonderful cycle of players never won anything at international level.

Special mention to Yugoslavia who produced the most drama and excitement and insanity of the tournament.  They were down 3-0 and down a man in their opening game to Slovenia. They drew 3-3.  The Yugoslavs looked to be winning the group and somehow threw it away.  If the ending of the 1999 Champions League Final was the greatest ending in soccer (dare I say sports) history, then the final minutes of Spain and Yugoslavia was a close second.

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Spain, needing a win to progress, fell behind three times to the Yugoslavs.  La Roja were down 3-2 in injury time and then a damn near miracle happened.  Spain converted a penalty and with seconds remaining in the match, the ball was launched into the penalty area.  No tiki taki here.  The loose ball fell to Pedro Munitis who drilled his shot into the ground and up and over the keeper to win the match and the group. Absolute pandemonium ensued as Yugoslavia thought they were out while Norway had their celebrations cut short.

In the Quarters the Netherlands tore them apart.  Yet this was a squad with Mihajlović, Stojković, Jugović, Mijatović and tournament top scorer Savo Milošević. Couldn’t take your eyes off them for second.

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Check out more posts on my trips, research and memories on the MatchDay Memories page.

Dennis Bergkamp Stillness and Speed: My Story

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Stillness and Speed: My Story, Dennis Bergkamp

Dennis Bergkamp went under my radar for a long time.  Only now am I getting a sense of how amazing he was.  Yes I saw the goal against Argentina and the goal against Newcastle and the incredible control against Leicester.  But recently I have seen several other examples of control and finishing and the ability to create for his teammates.  Bergkamp was a gifted player that slotted in at Arsenal and raised the level of the Gunners, allowing them to push several versions Manchester United from 1997 to 2004 and the book, Stillness and Speed: My Story, focuses on this a great deal.

Bergkamp’s books is unusual in that it is not a straightforward recap of the Dutchman’s career—born, played at Ajax, moved to Inter, transferred to Arsenal, retired.  Bergkamp, along with David Winner, explains all of these checkpoints but uses a series of interviews with key people in each of those stages to unpack the events.  The style takes getting used to yet it allows for the subjects to share their thoughts in long responses instead of summarizing and merely recounting history.  The result creates a context and aura for a very special player.

Yes, the player had success at Ajax and struggled at Inter, but at Arsenal, there was a fusion of desire and technique that created a historic era at the club.  Bergkamp and Winner do a wonderful job of framing a situation and letting Bergkamp share his thoughts, along with other participants to give a deeper understanding.  This is where the book shines.

In the end, three things stuck out to me after reading this book: Bergkamp was held in high esteem by his teammates, especially at Arsenal and especially Thierry Henry; his pursuit of perfection was relentless; and Ajax is a unique club with a history and culture different than many of the clubs I have read about.

This book is well worth reading if you love Bergkamp or Arsenal, but it is really worth it for the artistic beauty of soccer, of a game that can transcend mere sport.

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For a full list of my book reviews, please visit the Recommended Reading page. And reach out to me with your suggestions as well.

MatchDay Memory–1974: Part 4 (1974 World Cup)

Forty years ago I came into the world and while I may not have made an impact on the game of soccer, it has surely made an impact on me.  Playing the game from a very early age, I didn’t start following the game until my early 20’s.  Starting with Manchester United, I eventually started reading everything I could get my hands on and watching whatever game was on, learning about the rich and complex history of the game.  My MatchDay Memory posts over the next few weeks will focus on events in world soccer during the year of my birth, 1974.  It is in no way a comprehensive summation but rather an examination of teams and incidents that I was drawn to in my research.

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The 1974 World Cup was held in West Germany and saw a new format, a new trophy and lots of rain.  The 16 participants were divided into four groups of four with the top two advancing to the next stage of two groups of four.  The winners of each group contested the World Cup Final.  David Goldblatt called the 1974 edition “the tipping point” as the convergence of a new President with new ideas (Joao Havelange) and a commercially savvy sports company (adidas), saw the tournament become a worldwide event.

Of the 16 teams at the Finals, 9 were from UEFA, which struck me as uneven and puts the current 32 team tournament into perspective.  Scotland did not lose a match but were eliminated on goal difference, while Italy failed to progress after losing to Poland in the final group game, and Bulgaria could only get draws in their opening two fixtures before suffering a heavy loss to Holland.

West Germany, Holland, Yugoslavia, East Germany, Sweden and Poland progressed to the next stage with Poland proving to be one of the surprises of the tournament.  Three wins out of three in the first phase saw them move forward, but a 1-0 loss to West Germany in the final group game of the second stage eliminated them and sent the hosts to the Final. In watching the Official FIFA video of this tournament, West Germany had entertaining games in the second group stage–4-2 against Sweden and a dramatic 1-0 win over Poland, which saw the West Germans wear an unusual strip of all white.

Holland progressed to the Final, using the Total Football mentioned in the opening post in this series.  The website 4dfoot.com went into greater detail, focusing on the Brazil match, which Holland won 2-0.

Holland’s tactics were aimed at making life as hard as possible for Brazil . . . Holland made the pitch as small as possible. . . by pressing forward as a team. The attackers would be the first to press, and the midfielders and defenders were close behind. This required defenders to push up high and leave a large gap behind the defense. Holland prevented Brazil from profiting from that space by making excellent use of the offside trap and have the goalie act as an emergency sweeper. It worked brilliantly.

The Final matched West Germany and Holland and research in this area proved particularly compelling. I came across several articles that went beyond the score to reveal the context of the tournament, particularly for these two teams.  Starting with ripples from World War II, two of my favorite writers, Uli Hesse and Simon Kuper, examined the psyches of each country.  Their thoughts were fascinating and shed an interesting light on the games over the years.

Niklas Wildhagen wrote an intriguing article on the many issues in the background for the two Finalists.  One point he made was how the Dutch went to the tournament at less than 100%, but coach Rinus Michaels had forged a team in great form.  However the relaxed atmosphere in the Dutch camp was unbalanced the night before the Final by a newspaper article with the headline Cruyff, Champagne and Naked Girls. A final element mentioned by Chris Hunt was that the theme of the tournament was money—win bonuses and sponsorship deals being particularly big issues.  In the end the hosts won the Final 2-1.  The West Germans survived a very early goal by the Dutch, equalized and eventually went ahead.  A great Dutch team had been stopped by the resolve of the Germans, who won their second World Cup.

1974winner

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I chose 1974 simply because it was the year I was born, yet in reviewing the events of those 12 months it was interesting to see how many precursors and foundations and glimpses into the future were present.  The eternal battle between disciplined defenses against attack minded opponents; players and clubs searching for the next dollar/euro/monetary unit; shock results;  the constant emergence of new and dynamic talent from all around the world.  In 1974 I imagine that there were unknown pockets of activity around the world, complete with rich storylines and regional influence, and stories these days are now part of the worldwide narrative thanks to the internet and globalization.  Teams, players, coaches and cultures are more familiar and are part of a global fabric, with the game belonging to the world and being shared with the world.  Part of the sharing is this project, which was hard work, but informative and enlightening, and I hope you have enjoyed this look back into footballing history.

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Bibliography

MatchDay Memory–1974: Part 1 (Johan Cruyff)

Forty years ago I came into the world and while I may not have made an impact on the game of soccer, it has surely made an impact on me.  Playing the game from a very early age, I didn’t start following the game until my early 20’s.  Starting with Manchester United, I eventually started reading everything I could get my hands on and watching whatever game was on, learning about the rich and complex history of the game.  My MatchDay Memory posts over the next few weeks will focus on events in world soccer during the year of my birth, 1974.  It is in no way a comprehensive summation but rather an examination of teams and incidents that I was drawn to in my research.

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Starting my journey in Europe, the 1970’s saw the emergence of Total Football.  A post at Football Bible traces the path of footballing principles from England to Holland, focusing on Jimmy Hogan in the early 1900’s to Jack Reynolds at Ajax.  Former player turned manager Rinus Michaels laid the foundations at the Dutch club for unprecedented levels of success, and this style of play changed the game in terms of pressure, possession and spacing and continues to impact the game today.

David Winner spends a chapter diving into Total Football in his wonderful book Brilliant Orange.  Based on his interviews with many members of the Ajax and Dutch teams of the era, the system developed as a way to have a team instinctively know how and where to move to create space and press the ball in order to dominate matches.  The chapter makes the case that it was a collaborative effort between coaches and players and the more everyone engaged the system, the better it got.

CRuyff-standing

The post at Football Bible also identified an intelligent midfielder as key to making the system work.  For Ajax and the Netherlands, that player was Johan Cruyff.  After three consecutive European Cups (1971-73) with Ajax, Cruyff was transferred to Barcelona in August of 1973.  In reading Chris Clement’s recap of the season for Estadios de Futbol en Espana, I was stunned to read the following passage:

Faced with a veritable can of worms, the Federation relented and allowed clubs to sign two overseas players from the start of the 1973-74 season. Anticipating the change, Real Madrid reached an agreement with Ajax for Johan Cruyff, but the world’s best player would have nothing to do with the deal that had been agreed behind his back. Sensing an opportunity, Barcelona moved in and on 13 August 1973, Cruyff signed for the Catalan giants. As news of the agreement of Real Madrid and Ajax’s deal surfaced, the RFEF refused to sanction the deal and memories of the controversial Di Stéfano transfer resurfaced. However, Barcelona and Cruyff stood firm and eventually, eight weeks into the season, Barça got their man.

To think how close Cruyff was to wearing white instead of the blaugrana.  Reading Barca: A People’s Passion by Jimmy Burns, I was struck by how Cruyff’s signing was not only a sporting coup, but was, maybe even more importantly, a political statement.  The transfer had been in the works for a couple of years and the amendment by the Spanish Football Federation finally allowed the move to take place.  In October 1973, the Dutchman appeared in the blaugrana colors for an official match, and FCB President Montal had his signature signing, and the fans could now cheer for one of the best players in the world at Camp Nou.

After a successful period during the 1950’s, Barca had suffered during the 1960’s, winning only one league title during the decade.  After a slow start to the 73/74 campaign, FCB climbed up the table, winning 20 of their last 28 matches, including a 5-0 demolition of Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, to claim the championship.  A post from Alex Mott for Football Espana recaps an amazing period in which Cruyff won a European Cup with Ajax, led FC Barcelona to the title and appeared in the World Cup Final with a series of dazzling displays.

However, after delivering La Liga in 1974, further success did not follow.  A combination of a poor coaching relationship, a fractured locker room and the absence of players able to perform Total Football saw Barca return to trophyless seasons and Cruyff left in 1978.  Burns ends his chapter entitled the Flying Dutchman with these quotes from Cruyff:

It is a challenge but you know when people cheer you on a Sunday when you do well and you win, it means more to them than simply the pleasure of winning.  It’s not just a game, football; it’s not just about the people on the terraces.  But you know what struck me most when we won the championship?  They didn’t say, “Congratulations.”  They said, “Thank you” That made a very deep impression.

Cruyff playing at Barca still impacts the club.  He later coached the team in the early 90’s, overseeing the Dream Team that won four straight La Liga titles in the early 90’s and the European Cup at Wembley in 1992.  A key player on that team was Pep Guardiola, who as manager would deliver another amazing cycle of success in the 2000’s. The Dutchman continues to wield power at the club, influencing decisions and offering his opinions.  A polarizing figure, it’s hard to argue his contribution to the Spanish giants.

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I chose 1974 simply because it was the year I was born, yet in reviewing the events of those 12 months it was interesting to see how many precursors and foundations and glimpses into the future were present.  The eternal battle between disciplined defenses against attack minded opponents; players and clubs searching for the next dollar/euro/monetary unit; shock results;  the constant emergence of new and dynamic talent from all around the world.  In 1974 I imagine that there were unknown pockets of activity around the world, complete with rich storylines and regional influence, and stories these days are now part of the worldwide narrative thanks to the internet and globalization.  Teams, players, coaches and cultures are more familiar and are part of a global fabric, with the game belonging to the world and being shared with the world.  Part of the sharing is this project, which was hard work, but informative and enlightening, and I hope you have enjoyed this look back into footballing history.

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Bibliography